Gene drive used to make all female mosquitoes sterile

Akfire1,  TechiLink,  2022.

We have long known that we can limit malaria infections by controlling the mosquitoes that transmit them. But that knowledge has not translated into auditing efforts that have always been completely successful. Many of the approaches we have used to control mosquitoes have caused environmental problems, and mosquito populations are large enough that they have developed resistance to many of our pesticides. That made the development of so-called ‘gene drive’ constructs exciting (albeit a little scary). They have the potential to quickly spread genes across a population, including a mosquito population. But the prospect of modern genetic control of mosquito populations faces the very old problem of evolution, as gene drives often grind to a halt due to genetic changes that allow mosquito populations to escape their impact. Now a team has come up with a way to potentially avoid this problem: use gene drive to target a gene fundamental to mosquito development as male or female. By doing so, the females become sterile and, at least in the lab, the mosquito populations collapse.

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